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Fire Risk Assessment Online - Frequently Asked Questions*

How does the Complete Fire Safety Management Platform work?

Your own fire safety management plan, including a fire risk assessment can be produced using our system in as little as an hour. Complete our online training, learn about your obligations under the law, produce your own policy and procedures, complete your fire risk assessment using our simple questioning process and you’re covered. As easy as that.

How long will this fire safety report and risk assessment cover me for?

You pay a fee for 12 months access and any changes to your premises can be reflected in your fire safety report and fire risk assessment at any time. Simply login and make the necessary changes. At the end of 12 months, you can renew your hassle free subscription. All of your information is stored on our secure platform and is accessible with your unique login 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, though you can download all of your information at any time.

How important is it that we complete a fire risk assessment?

For fire prevention and fire safety, it’s a must. It will help you to protect your staff, visitors, customers or occupants from the dangers of fire. Legally, it’s an obligation. Owners and commercial tenants of premises that are not covered by a current and relevant fire risk assessment run the risk of prosecution by the enforcing authorities. This can result in fines of up to £100,000, or even a jail sentence if a fire were to occur and you were found to have not taken all preventative measures. In terms of insurance, if there was fire or smoke damage and you had not undertaken a fire risk assessment report; your insurers could refuse to pay and you may invalidate your cover.

What kind of premises can use this online fire risk self-assessment system?

This single or multi user platform is levelled at commercial landlords, property portfolios, small to medium sized enterprises and entities of more than five occupants, over one or multiple locations, as well as public visitor or meeting places. Such enterprises include offices, shops, restaurants, hotels, b&bs, light industrial units and warehousing. Other entities include semi public premises such as pubs, clubs, church halls, amenity centres, nurseries, healthcare clinics and surgeries. More complicated premises such as care homes, hospitals, large schools, shopping malls, or very large buildings that might have mixed use, may need a more comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment and should contact us to discuss further.

How much will it cost?

Using our price calculator, you see the cost for one or more premises. If you own a multi-site enterprise, you can give each area manager a login for their own site(s) and you can overview all sites.

I need to comply with my Fire Safety responsibilities though don’t feel confident that I have the necessary skills.

That is not a problem. We offer what we call the Hybrid service, whereby one of our Fire Safety professionals will visit your site and carry out the necessary survey, complete your report and give you further guidance.

Also as part of this service, you will still have your 12 months subscription to the “completefiresafetymanagement” platform, which means that you can make full use of the training videos at any time, adapt the policy and procedure documents specifically to your needs and most importantly, keep your Fire Risk Assessment report current.

This is a very easy solution that covers all of your Fire Safety needs.

Please call on 020 8668 8663 for further details.

What is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?

The Fire Safety Order gives responsibility to those who are best placed to address fire safety in their building to ensure that risks - which necessarily change over time - are kept under review. Under the Fire Safety Order a responsible person (usually the owner, employer or occupier of any non-domestic premises) must carry out a fire risk assessment. Responsible persons under the Fire Safety Order are required, following a risk assessment, to implement appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk to life from fire; and to keep the assessment up to date.

Why did the Fire Safety law change?

The Fire Safety Order was introduced in 2006 as a better regulation measure and consolidated over 70 pieces of separate legislation into a single set of Regulations. It aimed to make it easier for businesses and others with responsibility for buildings to which the public have access, to understand and comply with the law. It also reduced the number of enforcing authorities that businesses have to deal with.

The Government believes that those with the responsibility for premises are likely to be best placed to understand and manage fire safety on their premises. Risks change over time and those who own or run the business or other buildings to which the public have access, are in the best position to address these and ensure risks are kept under regular review.

Unlike the fire certificate regime, the Fire Safety Order is non-prescriptive. It allows businesses the flexibility to manage the risks to as low as is reasonably practicable and in the way best suited to their individual circumstances.

Do I still need a fire certificate?

No. The Fire Safety Order abolished the requirement for certain types of premises to apply - and pay - for a fire certificate from the local Fire and Rescue Authority.

Unlike the fire certificate regime, the Fire Safety Order is non-prescriptive. It allows businesses the flexibility to manage the risks to as low as is reasonably practicable and in the way best suited to their individual circumstances.

Does the Fire Safety Order affect me and what do I have to do?

If you're a responsible person (usually an employer, owner or occupier of a non-domestic premises) you are now required to carry out a fire risk assessment  and implement appropriate measures to minimise the risk to life and property from fire and to keep the assessment up to date.

The Fire Safety Order places a duty on the responsible person to record the significant findings of their risk assessment if they employ five or more persons, and to keep it up to date. The results of this will form the basis for the responsible person to devise and implement an appropriate and adequate fire management plan.

What does a fire risk assessment involve and how do I conduct one?

There are five key steps in a fire safety risk assessment:

  1. Identify fire hazards - consider what could start a fire and areas where ignition, fuel and oxygen sources are close together
  2. Identify people at risk - consider all people in and around the premises, and those who may be particularly vulnerable, such as people who work close to or with fire hazards, children, the elderly and disabled people
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risk - consider the results of steps 1 and 2; remove or reduce any risks and provide any additional necessary fire precautions to increase protection
  4. Record, plan and train - record any major findings and action taken to reduce or remove the risk (a legal requirement if there are five or more employees). Discuss, co-operate and co-ordinate with other responsible persons if necessary, prepare an emergency plan, inform and instruct relevant people and provide training
  5. Review - regularly review the fire risk assessment to ensure it remains up to date and reflects any changes that may have occurred.

After considering the five key elements above, the responsible person should use the significant findings of the risk assessment to form the basis of a fire management plan for the premises.

How often should I carry out a fire risk assessment?

The Fire Safety Order is not prescriptive and does not define how often the fire risk assessment and fire safety management plan should be reviewed. Risk assessments should be a dynamic process which takes into account the fact that risks may change over time. It would be good practice to review it at least once a year - and whenever there have been any structural or material changes to the building. As a basic starting point, the risk assessment will need to consider:

  1. the safety and effectiveness of escape routes
  2. firefighting equipment
  3. fire detection and warning systems
  4. instruction and training provided for staff and others on what to do in the event of a fire.

Do I need to employ someone to carry out the fire risk assessment for me or can I do it myself?

Under the Fire Safety Order, the duty to carry out and implement a fire risk assessment lies with the responsible person.

For smaller and less complex premises it is possible that the responsible person will be able to carry out the risk assessment themselves and this is why we have developed this platform for you. 

Larger or more complex premises may need to be assessed by a person who has comprehensive training, knowledge or experience in fire risk assessment. If you need help or advice in this respect then please contact us.

If the responsible person decides that, given the nature of the premises or the people involved, they do not have the necessary competence to discharge their duties under the Fire Safety Order, then please contact us.

Where can I get help to comply with the Fire Safety Order?

To help responsible persons understand and comply with the Fire Safety Order, the Department for Communities and Local Government has produced a series of detailed technical guides for a range of specific types of premises. These are designed to explain the risk assessment process and provide practical advice on fire safety and the measures that may be appropriate to put in pace to ensure compliance with this (e.g. training, fire detection systems, emergency escape routes etc).

To view the documents click here to visit the website.

I am a landlord - does the Fire Safety Order apply to me?

Yes. The Fire Safety Order applies to the common or shared parts of multi-occupied residential buildings, such as blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation. As such, landlords, owners or managing agents will need to carry out a fire risk assessment of the common parts and implement and maintain appropriate and adequate fire safety measures.

Landlords are also required under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System introduced under the Housing Act 2004, to ensure premises (both the flats themselves and the common parts) are free from category 1 hazards, including fire. As part of their responsibilities, landlords should put in place appropriate management and maintenance systems to ensure any fire safety equipment or equipment which may represent a fire hazard, is maintained in good working order, and in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

To help those with the responsibility for managing fire safety in residential buildings, Local Government Regulation (previously known as LACORS) have produced guidance specifically for certain types of housing

I run a small Bed and Breakfast. Does the Fire Safety Order apply to me?

Yes. The Fire Safety Order applies to you if anyone pays to stay in your property other than to live there as a permanent home. The Department for Communities and Local Government has worked with the Chief Fire Officers Association and the tourism sector to produce specifically tailored guidance for people who own small Bed and Breakfasts, guest houses and self catering accommodation. This provides practical advice to ensure that the premises are safe and comply with the Fire Safety Order. 

Does the fire risk assessment require measures such as fire escapes, fire alarms, fire doors or sprinklers to be in place?

There are likely to be a range of prevention and protection measures possible in an individual premises. The Fire Safety Order allows the responsible person to decide which would be most appropriate in light of the premises and those who may be in them.

Providing the fire safety measures is adequate to mitigate the potential risk. It is for the responsible person to decide what is adequate and proportionate in the light of their particular building.

Will it be expensive to improve my fire safety measures?

The cost will depend on the specific circumstances. The risk assessment enables responsible persons to focus on what needs attention. The findings from the risk assessment may highlight a range of deficiencies that require the responsible person to improve their fire safety measures. Putting these right and achieving an acceptable level of safety may involve a cost.

Am I responsible if my fire safety equipment fails?

The Fire Safety Order requires all fire safety equipment to be maintained in efficient working order and good repair. Should there be any failure due to poor maintenance, then the responsible person could be held accountable. Where maintenance contracts exist for the equipment, the enforcers may take action against the contractor.

What can I expect from my local Fire and Rescue Service?

Fire and Rescue Authorities are the primary enforcers of the Fire Safety Order. They are required to audit premises within their local area to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Fire Safety Order, and that adequate fire safety measures are in place.

Each Fire and Rescue Authority carries out their responsibilities on the basis of a locally determined risk-based inspection programme, which forms part of their integrated risk management plan. They must be satisfied with the responsible person's fire safety measures - if they are not, they will offer advice on what needs to be done to improve safety.

If a Fire and Rescue Authority finds major failings which put lives at risk, they can serve an enforcement notice requiring improvements to be made to ensure that there is a sufficient level of compliance on the premises.

The responsible person may be able to get advice from their local Fire and Rescue Authorities who have a statutory duty under the Fire and Rescue Service Act 2004 to provide fire safety advice to those who seek it. They cannot, however, assume the responsibility for carrying out the risk assessment on behalf of the responsible person.

Fire and Rescue Authorities are bound by the principles of the enforcement concordat and are required to have regard to the Statutory Compliance Code for Regulators (external link).

What if I think my fire safety measures are suitable but the Fire and Rescue Service doesn't?

The Fire and Rescue Service will, where appropriate, give responsible persons support and advice on how to improve their fire safety. They must consider measures that are proportionate and reasonable to address the particular risks they find at the premises. If the risk is not immediate or high, they can agree with the responsible person an appropriate time period to make the necessary improvements.

If responsible persons do not make the recommended improvements within the agreed time frame, or if the Fire and Rescue Service finds a serious fire risk that is not being managed, they have a legal responsibility ensure the premises comply with the Fire Safety Order. If necessary, they can take the responsible person to court. The first step is for the Fire and Rescue Service to issue an enforcement notice which details the specific improvements that need to be made within a specific time-frame.

What if I cannot agree what fire safety measures are necessary to achieve compliance with my Fire and Rescue Authority?

If the responsible person and the enforcing authority agree there has been a failure to comply with the Fire Safety Order but disagree on what measures are necessary to remedy the failure, they may approach the Secretary of State for a determination of the dispute.

An enforcing authority may refuse to agree to this procedure, where it considers that any delay bought about by the process would put people's safety at an unacceptable risk. In these cases, they would be expected to take enforcement action.

Detailed guidance on the determination process has been produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government for further information.

Can I challenge an enforcement notice in a magistrates' court?

Yes, once a notice is served, responsible persons will have 21 days to lodge an appeal with the court. If responsible persons think an appeal may be appropriate, they are advised to get legal advice from a solicitor.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has produced detailed guidance on the determination process which will provide further information on this.

Each Fire and Rescue Authority delivers its responsibilities under the Fire Safety Order differently - is this what was intended?

Each Fire and Rescue Authority is required by law to identify risks in its area, and will have a plan for reducing and managing these risks based on its local risk profile. They must use their professional expertise to decide whether the fire safety measures that are in place in any particular premises are appropriate and adequate in light of the circumstances of the premises.

All premises are different, as are the people who own, manage, work or stay in them so there can be no 'one size fits all' approach to fire safety. What may be considered appropriate in one, may not be good enough for another.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published an Enforcers' Guide to help Fire and Rescue Authorities better understand their duties under the Fire Safety Order, and for the public to better understand the intent of specific aspects of the Fire Safety Order.

What actions do I have to take to protect disabled staff and members of the public?


The Disability Discrimination Act introduced in 1995 sought to ensure that disabled employees, visitors and students, whatever their disability, should be treated as well as people without disabilities and according to their needs.

It is illegal to treat a disabled person less favourably, in relation to employment, goods, services and facilities, and to place them at a substantial disadvantage to people without disabilities. This ensures that disabled people must be included in any fire emergency plan.

An employer, building manager or service provider has to take reasonable steps to change practices or procedures that made it difficult for a disabled person to access goods facilities and services. This makes it necessary for example, to change evacuation procedures so that they cater for the needs of the disabled.

A service provider is required to take reasonable steps to remove any physical barriers that make it unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of services. This may result in the physical modification or adjustment to the premises or the provision of special equipment.


* These FAQs are taken from the Communities and Local Government website